Childhood Cancer

Your Child in the Hospital

Questions to ask

You may be able to save your child some discomfort by avoiding unnecessary tests or procedures. Plus, the more you understand about what is proposed and why it is necessary, the better you can explain it to your child. When your doctor proposes a test, the following are some questions you might ask before giving your consent.

• What is the purpose of the test?

• Does our insurance cover it?

• Are any risks associated with this test?

• What are the possible side effects and how often do they occur?

• Would you describe exactly what will happen during the test?

• Are there special instructions to follow before or after the test?

• When will the results be available?

Many tests can be done at a lab before your child is admitted to the hospital, and the costs might be significantly lower. Ensure that the results of all tests done before hospitalization are sent to the hospital to prevent the need for repeated testing.

My seven-year-old daughter needed an EEG [electroencephalogram] test that measures the electrical activity in the brain. I asked the technician many pointed questions: What kind of room would she be in? Would other kids be there? Would she be on a bed or bench? Could I stay with her? How many electrodes would be attached to her head, and how would this be done? Would they need to shave any hair? How long does it last? Are there scary or painful parts? Is the machine loud or quiet? After I shared this information with my daughter and answered her questions, the procedure went well. I ended up getting up on the table and lying down next to her to provide some comfort.